My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘American’

Why April Fools Day and Census Day shouldn’t coincide…

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

From the Christian Science Monitor:


April Fools’ jokes for 2010 Census form: What is your race? Vulcan.

In a trend worthy of April Fools’ jokes, Americans are challenging Question 9 of the 2010 Census form: What is your race? Some are self-defining themselves as ‘American’ or ‘NASCAR.’

If this man at a Star Trek convention is tempted to enter his race on the 2010 Census form as ‘Vulcan’ as an April Fools’ joke, the Census bureau might dispatch a case worker to his house to determine if he is telling the truth. Or it could jusy slap him with a $500 fine.

More from TrekMovie.com:

It appears that some people are having some fun with their new US Census forms, including thousands of Trekkies telling the government they not exactly human. However, the government doesn’t think it is very funny and you could end up getting fined (unless you can prove your non-terrestrial ancestry). More details below.

Trekkies being counted

As mandated in the US Constitution, every ten years the government conducts a census to count up everyone in the country. In March tens of millions of Census forms were sent out to every household in the USA. Forms are already coming in, but apparently some people are not taking it seriously, or at least not Question 9 which asks for Race, and allows you to fill one in if it isn’t one of the options on the form. This is from an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

Census workers report literally thousands forms that include, well, creative self-identified races. They include Vulcan and Borg (nods to “Star Trek”), Cylon (for the “Battlestar Galactica” fans), and, yes, NASCAR. (Get it? Race?)

Although that is all pretty funny, apparently it is not legal. Again from the article:

In other cases, census workers will call or even visit to determine if a respondent is, in fact, from the planet Vulcan.

The Census Bureau doesn’t want to get serious. But if worse comes to worse, a recalcitrant Vulcan could face fines of up to $500 for wrongful disclosure.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: The Mainstream Media Has Failed America

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Americans have once again been failed by the mainstream media. As I have expressed, MyTwoCensus.com is essentially a one-man operation. Yet, I still manage to file more than my fair share of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain significant amounts of information from the Census Bureau (and I am subsequently dragged around in circles as it takes months to actually obtain the data I request…Thanks for the transparency that you promised when you were elected, Mr. President!).

Sadly, I am essentially the only journalist who is pursuing such information from the Census Bureau, as evidenced by my tracking of FOIA requests. Local, regional, state, and national news organizations should have reporters covering the 2010 Census beat, at least during this busy time. 99% of the stories written about the 2010 Census (my humble non-scientific estimate) are fluffy pieces that remind individuals to be part of the enumeration process. Most of these articles read like press releases from the Census Bureau — because in many cases they are simply a collection of tidbits from Census Bureau press releases that are hastily thrown together. That neither traditional media organizations, new media organization, nor government watchdog non-profits and think tanks have taken investigating 2010 Census operations seriously is a major travesty, and the effects of this failure will soon be evident.

Without sounding like Clark Hoyt of the New York Times or the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, I understand that in the past week I may not have had 100% accuracy in my stories. I attribute this to many factors:

1. There is an excessive amount of information flowing in to me right now, and it is difficult to analyze it all in real time.

2. The government has been extremely unhelpful in answering my inquiries within a short amount of time.

3. The government has been lying, exaggerating, and spinning the 2010 Census to create a false image about its current rate of success, while also failing to provide solid data from the 2000 Census to use as reference points.

4. In the midst of the aforementioned problems, I have at times found it more effective to throw out information onto the Internet and let my readers correct me, since other individuals may have more knowledge than me about specific issues. I then go back and correct what is wrong. This is a method that has been used by Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch for many years now with great success. In the future, I will specifically ask for readers to verify or disprove information if I am not 100% sure of its factual accuracy.

That said, the readers of this blog have proven themselves to be an extraordinarily intelligent and insightful group of people. And without you directing me where to go, I would not have been able to make as much progress with this blog during the past 13 months as I have. I hope that this active citizen and government employee participation continues so we can achieve the best results possible for America.

Note: If any readers are interested in volunteering for this site to help me obtain and sort through more information during these busy times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Fact-Checking “20 Million” People Checked American On The 2000 Census

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As MyTwoCensus suspected, 20 million people did NOT check “American” as their race on the 2000 Census form. The folks who claimed this  were mistaken. In 2000, 20 million people checked “American” as their ancestry. Here’s the full official response to our inquiry from the Census Bureau:

The data you are referring to (20 million “American” responses) come from
the Census 2000 question on Ancestry, not the race question or the Hispanic
origin question.  ”Ancestry” is a different question and concept from race
and Hispanic origin, and is collected in a different manner (open ended
question; sample of the population).

Ancestry refers to ethnic origin, descent, roots, heritage, or place of
birth of the person or the person’s ancestors.  The question on Ancestry
was not intended to measure the respondent’s degree of attachment to a
particular group, but simply to establish that the respondent had a
connection to and self-identified with a particular ethnic group.  The
American Community Survey’s ancestry question separately identifies and
publishes estimates of the population who identify as solely “American,”
and this information is available annual basis.

The Census 2000 report, “Ancestry: 2000″ <
www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-35.pdf> contains the following
information (page 3) –

Seven percent of the U.S. population reported their ancestry as American.
The number who reported American and no other ancestry increased from 12.4
million in 1990 to 20.2 million in 2000, the largest numerical growth of
any group during the 1990s (Footnote: American was considered a valid
ancestry response when it was the only ancestry provided by a respondent.).
This figure represents an increase of 63 percent, as the proportion rose
from 5.0 percent to 7.2 percent of the population.

So again, the 20 million “American” responses come from the question on
Ancestry, not the race question or the Hispanic origin question, and
“ancestry” is a different concept from race and Hispanic origin.

How will CheckAmerican.org affect 2010 Census data?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Well, we will finally be able to determine just how wide (or narrow) Rush Limbaugh’s grasp on a segment of America is, as he is urging people to “check American” instead of filling out their race on the 2010 Census form.  This is presumably intended to make Caucasian (white) people feel good about themselves. While MyTwoCensus.com supports freedom of choice, this example of jingoism doesn’t make much sense in the long run, because it will then make it seem as if there are fewer white/Caucasian people in America (or whatever race the person is who writes in American) on the official statistics. Early prediction: This movement has very limited support, as it only has 74 followers on Twitter. But, nonetheless, check out the site:

http://www.checkamerican.org

(We just sent them an e-mail with some questions and hope to hear back soon! Their logo looks conspicuously similar to ours…)